BWW Blog: Sebastian Trevino - Revivals

BWW Blog: Sebastian Trevino - Revivals
"Tiempos de Amor" - Rent Mx Revival Cast

Revivals can be a tricky subject. People fall in love with the details that make up a show without realizing it. I mean, how can Elphaba's grandiose Defying Gravity first act ending ever be done differently? What about Phantom's epic chandelier drop, how can that be altered? Yes, we tend to cherish certain elements from a show and at times even consider them to be irreplaceable. I, like some of you, am one of those theatre fans. So yeah, I'll admit, I was a bit worried when I found out Mexico's Rent Revival was going to have a completely new take on this modern musical classic.

Granted though, worry wasn't all I was feeling. Excitement was also running strong through my veins and filling up my bones. You see, Rent Mx 2016 is in the hands of an exceptionally talented bunch. Two of them, though, I had never worked with and was eager to: Director Diego Del Río and scenic designer Jorge Ballina. Knowing these two masterminds were leading the creative team... that pretty much meant the show was going to be outstanding.

Jorge Ballina has been in charge of set design of an infinite number of award winning theatrical productions. One of his recent works, which critics praised, and that I was lucky enough to see, was Mexico's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (2013). The story was placed on what seemed like an open Battleship board game grid. The checkerboard stage had hidden trapdoors and windows everywhere and, with impeccable video projections, told the story through the unique perspective of a boy with Asperger Syndrome. I didn't know much about his work, but mesmerized by such a set... it was pretty much love at first sight.

In Rent, Ballina was working with a smaller stage, but he cleverly used that to his advantage. He came up with a three-piece car that takes up the whole stage. At plain sight, the car seems like a flat blue surface stacked with blue suitcases, TVs, old radios, amplifiers, bike parts, amongst other gadgets. It's quickly revealed, though, that the three sections are filled with secret hatches and doors that recreate the countless New York settings that the story describes. I have to say, I was obsessed with Nickelodeon's Legends of the Hidden Temple as a kid, and having a set with so many surprise elements definitely takes me back and only increases the level of excitement I feel when doing the show. I know... I'm a dork. Let me be.

Diego Del Río, on the other hand, I knew about early on in my Mexico City life chapter. A friend's cousin (José Sampedro, coincidently Rent Mx 2016's Benny) was playing the lead in Tribus (Nina Raine's Tribes) that Diego directed. If you've never seen or read this play, go online NOW and buy that sh*t! That's one powerful story and Del Río's intimate and honest approach made every single audience member relate to that shattering on-stage family one way or another. After that, I was head over heels with Diego's work.

It's Del Río's first time directing a musical, but the arts community has such high regard for him, that it was a greatly anticipated project. His essence and soul is poured into every show he does, and Rent Mx is no exception. Having his play-directing background in mind, he would always stress the importance of going from song to text seamlessly and not making a musical number out of a song. Organic and down to earth were always things he'd emphasize and reiterate during rehearsals.

Last week I had an Angel rehearsal with him. We were going over I'll Cover You, and it's so intense how even though I've known the song, the lyrics, the story... when Del Río talks to me about it, it's as if I'm hearing it for the first time. It's a blessing having a Director who can open your eyes with details that you'd think are obvious, but when explained with such specificity and care, it takes your character to a whole new depth.

Yes, revivals are a tricky subject, but there are so many revivals nowadays that completely blow you away with its new energy. Color Purple's simplistic new staging, Spring Awakening's bold and daring fresh and original concept, and Sweeney Todd's exceptionally talented actor-musician cast are only some example of revivals I'm sure you've obsessed over. Mexico is slowly taking more creative risks and making it's own theatrical proposals and with Del Río-Ballina teamwork, I'm sure Rent Mx 2016 will be one for the books.

What Do You Think? Tell Us In The Comments!

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From This Author Guest Blogger: Sebastian Trevino

Guest Blogger: Sebastian Trevino Sebastian Trevino is a Mexican actor born and raised in Monterrey Mexico. He studied communications at Monterrey TEC, but was always involved in theatre one (read more...)

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